Complaints, Lawyer Discipline and Public Hearings

Summary of Decision of the President’s Designate on an Application to Determine a Preliminary Question

Troy John Dungate and Trevor Scott Dungate

Prince George

Application date: April 21, 2021

President’s designate: Michael F. Welsh, QC

Decision issued: May 28, 2021 (2021 LSBC 21)

Counsel: Michael D. Shirreff and Jessie I. Meikle-Kahs for the Law Society; John Dungate and Trevor Scott Dungate appearing on their own behalf

BACKGROUND

This is the third pre-hearing application to the President or designate in this matter. Troy John Dungate and Trevor Scott Dungate are brothers who practised in a law firm with their father, who is now deceased. They have been cited for breach of undertaking and for making false or misleading representations.

Dungate and Dungate brought an application relating to two notices to admit delivered to the Law Society, seeking orders under Rule 4-36 for a determination as to whether the Law Society’s responses were adequate and complied with the rules and for an order that the admissions sought in the notice to admit are to be admitted for the purposes of the hearing only or, alternatively, that the Law Society provide a comprehensive response to the admissions sought in the notices to admit.

The first notice sought admission of the authenticity of the 2020 LSBC 60 decision and admission of the truth of 27 matters relating to what is said in the decision and of the Law Society not meeting deadlines for document production. The second notice seeks admission of the authenticity of an internal manual of the Law Society that sets out guidance for staff dealing with professional conduct matters, obtained by Dungate and Dungate by an FOI request.

The Law Society opposed the application and submitted that the notices to admit are ill-founded and do not deal with admission of fact and the responses it gave are adequate within the rules.

DECISION

The president’s designate stated that, in both their notices to admit and in this application, Dungate and Dungate show a misunderstanding of what constitutes factual admissions. The first notice to admit seeks to admit the truth of matters that are part of reasons for reaching the two procedural decisions in this discipline matter. The president’s designate explained that the reasoning process of a decision-maker is not a “fact” capable of admission. Regarding the Law Society not meeting a deadline to provide the investigation files, the Law Society already admitted this in its response and the date on which Dungate and Dungate received those files is not an issue.

As for the second notice to admit concerning the Professional Conduct Manual, its authenticity is admitted and Dungate and Dungate are free to use it before the hearing panel. The president’s designate noted that there is one admission sought in the second notice to admit that is a fact – that is that the undertaking had been withdrawn. The Law Society readily admitted it as a fact and stated it had been overlooked when reviewing the notice to admit. The Law Society previously sought to obtain this same admission from Dungate and Dungate, who would not make it.

The president’s designate ordered the Law Society to make a response to the admission in the notice to admit, but otherwise dismissed the application.

 

2021 LSBC 21 Decision on an Application to Determine a Preliminary Question